Aspiration, Obsession, Disintegration

By Steve B Howard | Steve B Howard | 11 Mar 2019

Meditation Journal: Questions always arise. “Is my breathing too fast? Is it too slow? Am I hyperventilating? Why are my thoughts wheeling around my serious intentions?” I’m a pseudo Buddhist. I can talk the talk, but ask me to sit quietly counting my breaths and suddenly my dedication crumbles faster

than a dried up lotus caught in a hurricane.

Argue your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours. –Richard Bach

Fly Fishing Journal: There are many ways to kill fish. Dynamite in a pond or a small lake is a very sudden and dramatic way to kill fish. Hydroelectric dams, commercial fishing, and pollution work also. The conventional way involves yanking the fish from the water with a net, gaff, line, or by hand and smashing it on top of the head with a hard object. This hopefully sends it quick and painlessly to whatever afterlife your respected belief system allows for the departing life force of fish. Some people can do this without a second thought. I always have to try and detach myself from the act, but questions interfere.
“Am I taking this life to sustain my own or is this just a blood sport? Do fish feel pain?”

I’ve caught a million trout, salmon and Steelhead in my life, maybe more than a million, I don’t know. I have a ridiculous sickness and I apologize for it, but I haven’t killed that many. -David James Duncan

anger journal: One time at the bus stop you attacked a kid. He was bigger, stronger, but you had the edge in rage. You just focused and went after him. Afterwards, you didn’t remember much, only your right fist striking his cheek bones. Your friends said you’d hit him five times and that he’d hit you twice. They decided you’d won, but it didn’t feel that way. The only things you gained were a headache and bloody knuckles. You weren’t even sure why it had happened.

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger, Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” — Yoda

Meditation Journal: today was quiet, but Thenmymindstartedracing,mythoughts,emotions,physicalsensationsbegantorunonoandon!

stopped meditating after two minutes. Couldn’t control thoughts.

Fly Fishing Journal: In the 1920’s, before most of the dams were built, a million wild salmon and steelhead returned to the Columbia River and its tributaries to spawn. In 1996 less than a thousand wild salmon and steelhead spawned in the Columbia River. I know this, but what I can do about it? I can’t change the past, or the future. There are organizations I could join, Trout Unlimited, The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, but I can’t find the energy or the time. Despair comes in two flavors: despair from helplessness and despair created by my own laziness.

Despite of my rage I’m still just a rat in a cage. -Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins

anger journal: You grab the car door and pull. It won’t open. You grab again and pull harder. It still won’t open. You grab it with both hands and pull with all your strength and still IT WON’T OPEN. You surrender to your frustration and punch your hand through the driver’s side window. You remove your bloody hand from the busted windowpane, wrap it in a towel, and drive yourself to the hospital. Your door is open, as is your hand.

The horror, the horror -Joseph Conrad

Meditation Journal: There are stories of Buddhist monks in Tibet that walled themselves into caves and meditated so deeply that their bodies went into a sort of hibernation. Tibetan and Chinese doctors have found these monks hundreds of years later, still alive, but trapped in this comatose state from which they cannot be revived. The Tibetan’s wall them back up out of respect and leave them to their meditation. The Chinese sometimes grind them up to make medicinal powders. Though these monks reach a deep meditative state they never gain enlightenment, so the Buddhists tell us. 
I never thought meditation was dangerous. I thought not meditating was dangerous (for myself and others). Maybe that’s the point of not attaching even to meditation.

May I see the realms of the five Buddha’s. -anonymous

Fly Fishing Journal: I’m not always so practical, or conscientious. I’m a consumer and therefore my moral convictions often fail; I drag that salmon out of the surf, lay it in the sand, club it to death, snap a picture, and then take it home to be consumed with friends and family. The barbecue and blaspheme go hand in hand. Later, after the fish has been consumed I consider the life I have taken.

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish — Dr. Seuss

Angry Fly Fishing Meditation Journal: You walk down to the beach, feel the cold breeze coming down from the north, and see the rain clouds. You hear the tide breaking against the rocks. You step into the surf, and slip, landing on your arm. You feel the anger rise. You grab a rock and raise it above your head, preparing to smash whatever is closest and weakest, your $500 graphite fly rod, your flesh and muscle mixing and entwining with the flesh and rage of your father. History, your history, your family history, is about to repeat itself. Then you stop. You pick yourself up. You collect your gear and walk to a large rock facing the ocean. You cross your legs, straighten your spine, place your hands on your knees, and breath.

When I suffer the Karma of unconscious tendencies -Tibetan Book of the Dead

Meditation Journal: Sometimes when the wind and waves stop, and there’s nothing but flat sparkling water before me I think about being part of that stillness, to sit with no goals, no desires, no time. Sometimes sitting on a rock warmed by the sun and breathing cool salty air in through your nose and out through your mouth is all there is and all you need.

Walk on — U2

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Steve B Howard
Steve B Howard

I'm a semi-pro spewer of sometimes interesting sounding gibberish. I write a lot of different stuff including poetry, haiku, haibun, flash fiction, short stories, and essays.

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